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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Plan in motion to restore Haifa Street

7 May 2007
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim
2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs

BAGHDAD — On Sunday, a U.S. Army official addressed members of the Iraqi media in regards to revitalizing Haifa Street.

U.S. Army Col. Bryan Roberts, commander of the 1st Cavalry Division, 2nd Brigade Combat Team laid out the goals of the "Haifa Street Project."

“It’s an initiative, in cooperation with local leaders, to improve security, essential services and economic opportunities in Karkh,” he said. “This exciting project will provide a way ahead for secure, stable and prosperous neighborhoods that Iraqis want and deserve.”

The 2nd BCT’s Special Troops Battalion’s Infrastructure Coordination Element will spearhead the initiative. The ICE has been working with neighborhood leaders to improve their quality of life since the brigade arrived in Baghdad last fall.

“The goal of this project is to make [Haifa Street] a safer, cleaner and better place to live, work and enjoy in the center of Baghdad,” Roberts said. “The Haifa

Street Project will be a visible sign of progress that all Iraqis can be proud of and other districts will emulate.”

The project has three distinctive parts, said Roberts. Part one will be projects that demonstrate visible signs of change and a return to normalcy.

“(It will clean up) buildings damaged by fighting, streets littered with destroyed cars, anti-Iraqi graffiti,” he said.

Additionally, parks and playgrounds will be re-opened, said Roberts.

Part two will concentrate on improving essential services. “All residents deserve a healthy, sanitary and safe environment, and we are dedicated to helping make this happen when and where we can,” said Roberts.

The final part deals with security operations. “(Haifa Street) is patrolled day and night,” Robert said. “Coalition and Iraqi forces have forged a strong partnership dedicated to fighting those who would kill innocent Iraqi men, women and children.”

Iraqi Police commander, Col. Baha, whose department watches over Haifa Street, noted that since their constant presence began, murder has dropped from 50 in January to one in March.

As a result of the increased security, Baha said markets are rapidly reopening, children are going back to school and many of the families who fled out of fear have started coming back to their homes.

“The scope [of this project] is huge, said ICE member 1st Lt. William Pendleton.

There are currently 29 different renovation projects in various stages of planning and execution, valued at more than $6.3 million.

“If you see this place now, think about what it will look like in six months,” said Maj. Chip Daniels, the chief of the ICE team.

“You all are a part of history,” Daniels told his team after an assessment mission. “You should be proud to tell your families you are a part of this.”

Photo: U.S. Army Maj. Chip Daniels (left), the team chief for the 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion Infrastructure Coordination Element, and Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Seidel, talk about which buildings need to be worked on during an assessment of Baghdad’s Haifa Street April 4. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim, 2nd BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs.

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